By Anna Spoelhof, FNP
Laurie Birkholz, MD, and Associates
Holiday gatherings may look a little different this year, friends…
With COVID-19 cases increasing, I’ve had a lot of questions surrounding Thanksgiving & COVID-19. This pandemic has been stressful and isolating for many, and we are ALL feeling COVID-fatigued.
Unfortunately, the epidemic is worsening, and small household gatherings are an important contributor to the rise in COVID-19 cases. The CDC offers the following considerations to slow the spread of COVID-19 during small gatherings to help keep you and your loved ones healthy.
Considerations for Hosting or Attending a Gathering:
- Limit the number of attendees as much as possible to allow people from different households to remain at least 6 feet apart. Guests should avoid direct contact, including handshakes and hugs, with others not from their household.
- Avoid holding gatherings in crowded, poorly ventilated spaces with persons who are not in your household.
- Increase ventilation by opening windows and doors to the extent that is safe and feasible based on the weather, or by placing central air and heating on continuous circulation.
- Consider requiring guests to wear masks.
- Set up hand-sanitizer stations throughout your house.
- Limit contact with commonly touched surfaces or shared items, such as serving utensils.
- Clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces and any shared items between use when feasible. Use EPA-approved disinfectants.
- Use touchless garbage cans if available. Use gloves when removing garbage bags or handling and disposing of trash. Wash hands after removing gloves.
- Plan ahead… ask guests to avoid contact with people outside of their households for 14 days before the gathering.
The following people should not attend in-person holiday gatherings:
- Those with or exposed to COVID-19
- Those who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and have not met the criteria for when it is safe to be around others
- Those who have symptoms of COVID-19
- Those waiting for COVID-19 viral test results
- Those who may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 in the last 14 days
- Those at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19
- Older adults or people with certain medical conditions who are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19, or live or work with someone at increased risk of severe illness should avoid in-person gatherings with people who do not live in your household.
If you are looking for the lowest-risk celebration, consider a virtual Thanksgiving, or only celebrating with members of your own household.
Hang in there, friends, & stay safe!